published Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Altman, Parker winners in Battlefield Marathon

Jason Altman came from Knoxville again and was settling for nothing less than first place in the 33rd Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon.

For first-time participant Talva Parker of Lee's Summit, Mo., first place was a wonderful bonus on a splendid morning Saturday.

Her main goal was to finish in under four hours in the 43rd state in which she has run a 26.2-mile race since 1997. She did that easily, in 3 hours, 20 minutes, 56 seconds, and that made her the women's overall winner.

In another bonus, 45-year-old local runner Ryan Shrum finished in under three hours for the first time in his 19 marathons and wound up second overall with a closing surge. He was the masters winner also with his 2:56:31 finish.

Tim Phillips of Rossville repeated his wheelchair victory in 2:28.53.

Altman was the overall winner in 2:38:52 and said his only regret, a mild one, was not being pushed harder.

"I'm pretty happy," the 33-year-old said after beating his personal record from two years by just under a minute.

He won the battlefield race in 2010 and led the first 22 miles or so last year but pushed too hard, winding up second and having to lie down to recover. His training had been slowed by Achilles' tendinitis and he didn't account for it.

"After last year I felt like I had something to prove. I wanted a little redemption," said Altman, who directs Knoxville's spring marathon sponsored by Covenant Health. "I wanted to prove that falling apart at the end was a fluke."

Shrum knew he wasn't going to catch Altman, but as the miles went by and he found himself closer and closer to second-place Peter Volgyesi, he decided he'd see how close he could come.

"I'm just really competitive, and I could tell in the last two miles that he was starting to hurt, so I decided to go for it," Shrum said. "I caught him with about three-tenths to go. I felt good at the end, and it's even better because I run a lot of races but I've never been second in a marathon before."

Parker, 38, has run 44 marathons in all, having mistakenly hit California twice in her 50-state quest. This was her 14th this year -- and the last, she said. Also in 2012, she set a PR of 3:07.45 in Washington state and got her only other marathon win in Alaska.

"This one was beautiful. I heard a deer go behind me and turned around and saw it," she said.

Hugh Enicks, the Red Bank running coach and a retired Army lieutenant colonel who loves the Veterans Day weekend event in the battlefield, won the half marathon for the third year in a row. His time was 1:19:26. He previously had a four-year stretch with three wins and a second in the marathon.

Teresa Kirkman was the women's half marathon winner in 1:32.19.

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